“Nigeria: Politicians Stole U.S.$300 Billion Since 1960 – ICPC
By Iyobosa Uwugiaren
Nigeria has lost more than $300 billion to corrupt leaders since independence, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), retired Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, has said.
Ayoola, who spoke at a sensitisation lecture on corruption at the Federal College of Forestry, Jos, said the amount could have made lives ‘much better’ for ordinary Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted him as saying: “Three hundred billion dollars is enough to build many standard schools equipped with all facilities.
“We now send our children to private schools and universities and that is why when they come out of these schools, they have no love for their country,” he said.
According to Ayoola, the situation has made it imperative for all Nigerians to cooperate and contribute to the fight against corruption.
Nigeria has had eight military and six civilian regimes since independence in 1960.
It is ranked the 130th most corrupt country in the world, according to the latest Transparency International ranking.
Represented by Hassan Mohammed, Head, ICPC Zonal Office in Makurdi, Ayoola said the fight against corruption was a tedious one and no organisation could fight it alone without the support of citizens.
“The “no” you can say to someone can go a long way in ensuring that we have books in our schools, drugs in our hospitals and also make our votes count during elections.
“That “no” can also build motorable roads to many Nigerian villages,” he added.
The chairman also spoke on the speculated clash between the functions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the ICPC, saying, “I do not think that is a problem as long as the efforts of both organisations are geared towards achieving the same goal.”
Ayoola, however, cautioned against “personalising” the fight against corruption, saying institutions rather than individuals should be revered.
Apparently worried about the high rate of stealing in various government agencies the anti-graft agency recently directed 321 government agencies and parastatals to forward details of their 2009 capital projects.
But out of 321, LEADERSHIP gathered that only 74 complied with the directive and the ICPC had threatened to sanction those who failed or refused to comply.
The Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, stated recently that her commission was overwhelmed over corrupt cases across the country. She said the EFCC would continue to do its best in the ongoing war against corruption.”